Jan 21 Consol Energy Inc said it would
spend three-quarters of its nearly $1.5 billion capital budget
for 2014 on natural gas production amid regulatory uncertainty
for the coal industry.
Consol, which has said it wants to transition into a
exploration and production company with a coal subsidiary, will
mainly invest to drill and complete projects in the highly
productive Marcellus and Utica shales.
The company said on Tuesday most of the $1.5 billion would
come from the low-growth, coal assets it sold in 2013.
Consol said in October it would sell five West Virginia coal
mines, which comprised roughly half its coal production, for
$850 million cash and $184 million in future royalty payments
for its coal reserves.
Coal producers have come under increased regulatory pressure
in the past five years from the Obama administration, making the
Consol said it expected its coal business to support the
exploration and production capital program when the BMX longwall
in Western Pennsylvania starts late in the first quarter.
The Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based company reaffirmed its
2014 natural gas production growth target of 30 percent. The
company expects to produce 215-235 billions of cubic feet
equivalent of gas during the year.
The company will report results for the quarter ended Dec.
31 on Jan. 31.